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Foley, Raiders honored with postseason awards


by Jeff Lajoie
Sports Reporter

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Belmont boys’ soccer coach Mike Foley, seen here hugging junior Joe Boles following the state championship loss to Bow, was named the Division III Coach of the Year by the NH Coaches Association last week. Jeff Lajoie. (click for larger version)
November 18, 2012
BELMONT – After a season where they went 19-1 and came within one game of a state championship, the honors were certain to follow for the Belmont High School boys' soccer team.

The Red Raiders had six players recognized as all state performers by the NH Coaches Association at its end of the season meeting last week, with head coach Mike Foley being tabbed as the Division III Coach of the Year for his efforts.

"It's a testament to what the team has been able to do. These guys reflect what it is that we preach to them day in and day out," said the gracious Foley of the coaching honor. "When that is recognized around the state, it's a nice compliment to them and the school."

Leading the way for the Red Raiders was a trio of seniors, as Austin Wilder (midfield), Jeremy D'Amour (forward) and Kaleb Brace (goalkeeper) were selected as first team all state players. Senior Pedro Perez (midfield) and junior Joe Boles (defense) were named to the second team while senior Brendon Johnson (forward) was an honorable mention selection. Wilder and Brace were also named to the N.H. Lions Cup team, which will play against the Vermont team on July 20 at Franklin Pierce.

"I can't say enough good things about Austin, Brendon, Pedro…Jeremy's speed and ability to put the ball in the net," said Foley of his all state seniors. "Kaleb, we asked him all year in games to make two or three quality saves and that's all we asked of him. He did that time and time again, and he came through with some highlight reel saves in the finals."

Foley's senior class was loaded, with 13 players in the Class of 2013 leading the way this fall. While the all state players gained a lot of the notoriety, there were plenty of unsung heroes from the senior class, especially on defense.

"Bret Spaulding was just remarkable defensively for us…what an amazing year he had," said Foley of his sweeper. "Same goes for Aaron McLelland. The two of them were just huge. They didn't get the recognition they deserved but they were the heart and soul of the defense. They had plenty of opportunity to let the ego go and they never did, they kept their heads and just went about their business."

Midfielder like Adam Prout, Ashton Singh and Bryan McLelland, forwards like Kevin King and defenders like Angelo Palmer and Jon Oakes were also stabilizing forces in the lineup for Foley, as he had the luxury of inserting veteran players in almost every slot on the field.

The future will look markedly different for the Raiders, with the graduation of this class decimating the starting lineup. Key cogs in Boles, Austin Haddock and Tom Kuntz return, and it'll be time for a new wave of Belmont players to take their turn.

"I've got two more classes coming that are, if you will, as talented as this group," said Foley of the current crop of eighth and sixth graders. "So we've positioned ourselves rather nicely. The kids have to progress accordingly and stay healthy but it's a nice luxury to have, knowing the pipeline is working well. We've got a lot of younger brothers of this senior group coming soon so the future looks great."

The main focus will be on getting the inexperienced varsity players on the same page as quickly as possible.

"There's a major transition filling in those pieces to the puzzle," explained Foley. "Kids that are just ready to step into those positions, we need to make sure they are ready for the speed of play and that we have the ability to push those guys. But we're confident about it, no question."

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Salmon Press
Parker Village
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